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Asia exports low December benzene volumes to US on weak prices

December 02/2011

(ICIS) -- Asias benzene exports to the US will likely be low in December, as in the previous two months, given a lack of price incentive to ship out products that far, industry sources said on Friday.
Benzene shipments from South Korea to the US in December are estimated to remain below 20,000 tonnes, a Korean producer said. South Korea is the largest exporter of benzene from Asia to the US, which is the worlds largest benzene importing nation.


US benzene prices were at $3.10-3.20/gal or $927-957/tonne (?686-708/tonne) FOB (free on board) Barges late on Thursday, while European values were at $890-910/tonne CIF (cost, insurance and freight) ARA (Antwerp, Rotterdam and Amsterdam). On Friday morning, Asian spot prices were hovering at about $970-980/tonne FOB (free on board) Korea, according to ICIS.


South Korea traditionally ships out 40,000-50,000 tonnes of benzene to the US. But in November, the Asian country only exported about a third of the usual volume to the US, said a Singapore-based trader.


Demand from western industrialized economies has been falling as the US economic state remains fragile, while the eurozone is steeped in its sovereign debt crisis.


A pick-up in US benzene demand depends largely on Chinas appetite for styrene monomer (SM) imports from the US, the same Korean producer said. SM is the major downstream of benzene.
Asia is a net exporter of benzene to the US and Europe, while Asia imports SM from the US and Middle East.


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Tags:benzene, styrene.
Category:General News
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